Water seepage refers to the flow of water from one location to another through porous materials or small gaps. It is a prevalent issue in all buildings, typically emerging after heavy rainfalls, pipe bursts or long-term exposure to pools of water. When left undetected or untreated, water can pose serious threats to the inhabitants of a building.
Unfortunately, owners are seldom aware of the different causes behind water seepage in their buildings and homes. To bring attention to the possible contributing factors, we have written this article to cover the common situations that lead to water seepage.
In many cases water seepage is caused by defective water pipes, drainage pipes or sanitary fitments. Over time, pipes develop defects as their features age and rust. Moreover, the earth’s forces cause constant natural shifts in your building’s foundation. Such movement causes the pipe’s joints to loosen and separate over time. Users of the building also further contribute to the issue by clogging pipes. Through the disposal of solid household items, pipes become choked with foreign items. This in turn increases the pressure when water is being drained, thus causing wear and tear within the pipe.
For cases which involve visible pipe leaks, home owners may attempt to perform simple repair works. However, in the event that a pipe leak is not readily evident, building owners should engage licensed water leakage
professionals to trace the source of the leakage and to pinpoint the defect in the pipe.
Defective Pipes in Adjacent Apartments
Oftentimes, the defective pipe may be concealed behind false walls or even within the premise of a neighbouring apartment. It should also be noted the defective pipes need not be within the area in which water leakage is seen. Water can travel long distances due to natural forces such as gravity and wind, following a path of least resistance. As such, finding the defective pipe can be a much tougher task than the actual repairing of it.
Where leakage is found to have occurred within an upper or adjacent flat, the situation increases in complexity. Beyond attaining the cooperation of the owner of the flat, waterproofing professionals will need to ensure that water has not accumulated in other hidden spots in the building. Doing so results in a lengthy and tedious process of checks.
Deteriorating Floor Slabs and Bathroom Seals
Bathrooms are a common source of water seepage given the number of pipes and water-based appliances found in them. However, pipes are not the sole source of water leakages. Instead, the tile walls and floor may be the culprit. Surfaces of the bathroom are constantly in contact with water, as such it should come as no surprise that they also leak water over time.
Typically, bathroom water seepage occurs along the bottom of the walls which are the most exposed surfaces to water. The longer the leak goes unnoticed, the more moisture seeps through, thereafter water will flow onwards as mentioned before. How then can one prevent or slow down bathroom water seepage?
The Answer Lies in the Maintenance of Grout
Grout is technically a type of cement that is used between tiles to keep them in place. This also makes it a relatively porous component of your bathroom’s floor. It relies on the grout sealing to waterproof the floor and prevent leakages.
However, over time as dirt enters the grout and traps moisture in it, grout will begin to crack. This in turn allows for a higher rate of water penetration that wears down the grout sealing. To prevent such, replacement of old discoloured or cracked grout needs to be done on a regular basis.
Roof & Balcony Water Seepages
In addition to bathrooms, roofs and balconies are also prone to water seepages due to their weather facing surfaces. In particular, they are exposed to heavy rain and wind during the year, while also facing the risk of having stagnant water pools being formed on them. Where debris lands on their surfaces, damage sustained may enable the formation of cracks that facilitate water penetration, not unlike grout leakages in bath rooms.
To reduce the rate of water leakage in roofs and balconies, proper water drainage paths need to be developed. This includes designated drainage spots, strategic slants, and prevention of obstruction of waterways. These methods ensure that water will travel along the desired path and exit your home as quickly as possible.
Unless a big leakage occurs, symptoms of water seepage will likely emerge before any major structural failures occur. These symptoms include discoloration of walls, peeling of paint, musty smells, signs of mould or mildew and droplets of water penetrating through surfaces.
Alternatively, if you do not find any of these symptoms but are unable to explain continual increases in water utility bills, then water leakages may still be occurring. Thick drywalls are effective at absorbing water, similar to that of sponges. As such, if your building has these walls, signs of water leakages beyond increased utility bills may not be forthcoming.
If you were to discover any of these common signs, it is imperative that you enlist the services of a waterproofing professional.
Consequences of Water Leakage
Water can be a destructive force within your building if left uninterrupted. It is capable of travelling great distances from the entry point to a collection point, whereby accumulation leads to a moist environment. In such an environment, mould growth is expected, and will weaken the structural integrity of the building over time. This endangers the inhabitants, users and visitors of the space as a collapse of walls and ceilings becomes a realistic possibility.
The danger posed by water seepage makes timely engagement of proven water leakage professionals a must.
Roof Doctors is a trusted water leakage Singapore
company with more than 15 years’ experience in waterproofing and decoration application works. We boast a team of experienced workers who pay close attention to each project’s details and deliver the best solutions for our clients.